On August 6th, the long awaited fan-powered port of Metroid 2: Return of Samus hit the Internet, dubbed AM2R, Another Metroid 2 Remake. The remake was a massive undertaking by loyal fans that sought to recreate the Game Boy game for PC and update some of the features. Only a day after release fans from MetroidHQ held a charity livestream, showing off the game (and other Metroid titles) while raising money for Child's Play. Fans may have some trouble enjoying their PC ready Metroid 2 though, after Metroid Database, one of the biggest hosts of the port, reported they had received a DMCA notice from Nintendo telling them to take down the remake.
Metroid Database received an email from a Nintendo lawyer, claiming that AM2R violated Nintendo's copyright, by displaying depictions of Samus and other Metroid characters.
Dear Copyright Agent,
We represent Nintendo of America Inc. (â€œNintendoâ€ ) in intellectual property matters. Nintendo recently learned that content hosted by SoftLayer at http://www.metroid-database.com/files/AM2R_10.zip infringes copyrights owned by Nintendo. This notice is provided pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 USC Â§ 512, and SoftLayer's DMCA Policy.
The above URL provides access to a software file that makes unauthorized use of Nintendo's copyrighted material from its Metroid video game franchise, including but not limited to the images and fictional character depictions from U.S. Copyright Reg. Nos. PA0000356142, supp. by PA0000547461 (Metroid); VA0000474073 & TX003221317 (Metroid II: Return of Samus); PA0000720157 (Super Metroid); PA0001275461 (Metroid Prime); PA0001275460 (Metroid Prime 2: Echoes); PA0001633666 (Metroid Prime 3: Corruption); PA0001915118 (Metroid Prime Hunters); and PA0001791606 (Metroid: Other M).
I have a good faith belief that this use is not authorized by the intellectual property owner, its agent, or the law. I hereby state that the information herein is accurate and, under penalty of perjury, that I am authorized to act on Nintendo of America Inc.â€™s behalf.
We would appreciate your expeditious removal of all infringing content. Please contact me immediately with any questions.
This notice is not intended to and shall not waive or prejudice any rights and remedies that Nintendo may have at law, in equity, or otherwise. Any and all such rights and remedies are hereby expressly reserved.
Attorney for Nintendo of America Inc.
Metroid Database responded by removing the AM2R download, but expressed that they would be investigating to make sure the takedown notice was real. This is likely in response to several fake DMCA notices that were sent earlier this year. However the notice received by Metroid Database differs significantly from the fake DMCA notices, specifically by naming the exact copyrights that are supposedly in violation. Users have pointed out however that the attorney contacting Metroid Database is from a different state than where Nintendo's legal offices are located. TechRaptor contacted Metroid Database webmaster Ryan Barrett, who says they have contacted a lawfirm to confirm legitimacy.https://twitter.com/MetroidDatabase/status/762485456621625345
If the notice is fake, Metroid Database says it will re-host but on a limited upload speed, saying that even in the one day they hosted the game, fans had used up a full terabyte of their bandwidth. The game was also hosted on several other hosts, where it has also been taken down, including MediaFire, FileDropper, and on Google Drive.
TechRaptor reached out to Nintendo to try and find out whether the DMCA was legitimate. Nintendo PR did not immediately confirm that they had sent the DMCA. However, they defended their right to protect their intellectual property, stating that allowing people to use their IPs without permission can "weaken our ability to protect and preserve it".
Nintendo’s broad library of characters, products, and brands are enjoyed by people around the world, and we appreciate the passion of our fans. But just as Nintendo respects the intellectual property rights of others, we must also protect our own characters, trademarks and other content. The unapproved use of Nintendo’s intellectual property can weaken our ability to protect and preserve it, or to possibly use it for new projects.
TechRaptor reached out to the AM2R team for comment and will update if they respond.
In the meantime there are still torrents and mirrors of the game available however these may also be taken down. Users on the AM2R forums have been sharing torrents to ensure all users can try out the game. AM2R users discussed the potential for a DMCA before the game was released, believing that Nintendo would not take down the fan project or that if they were going to, they would have taken action before the game's release. AM2R has said they have not been contacted by Nintendo.https://twitter.com/AM2Rgame/status/762549122989690880
This story will be updates as more information becomes available.
Update - 8/8/2016
It appears Metroid Database has received confirmation that the attorney is legitimately representing Nintendo.https://twitter.com/MetroidDatabase/status/762737283908956160?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
This does mean that they will not be rehosting the game as per their past comments.
Update - 8/9/2016
The creator of AM2R, DoctorM64, has updated the games blog to update fans on the DMCA issue. The developer clarified again that he has not received a DMCA notice personally, and that the takedowns seem to be targeting only hosting sites. He is working on a process to get fixes and updates out despite not being able to simply host the game somewhere. However, he says he is still satisfied even though the game, a project which took ten years to complete, has been taken down. M64 says the skills he learned while creating the game prepared him for a professional career in programming, and that he is still technically and artistically satisfied to just have completed the project. He emphasized that people should not be directing their hate at Nintendo, but instead emphasizing the demand for 2D platformers and Metroid titles.
Please, don't hate Nintendo for all of this. It's their legal obligation to protect their IP.
Instead of sending hate mail, get the original M2 from the eShop. Show them that 2D adventure platformers are still a thing people want.